Carlow Mayo Public Library requests more money from council

·4 min read

Carlow Mayo Public Library CEO and head librarian Carrie McKenzie and CMPL board chair Marian Peirce made a presentation to Carlow Mayo Township council at their meeting on April 12. Discussing the library’s operations over the past year while dealing with the hardships imposed by COVID-19, they requested an additional $2,400 from the township for their operational needs. Council subsequently approved this increase to be placed into their budgetary discussions coming up at their April 25 meeting.

Peirce and McKenzie made their presentation to council at the Mayo Community Centre on April 12. Mayor Bonnie Adams introduced them and Peirce thanked council for having them and then mentioned the library’s annual report.

“It shows what we were able to do here in a difficult year with COVID-19 and libraries across Ontario including ours, it was difficult to see people and to deliver programs to them. Also in there is a request for an additional $2,400 for our library and we’re hoping you consider that as you talk about your municipal budget,” she says.

Peirce said that inflation was contributing to the increased operating costs, including wages, books, and the proper means to catalogue the books, so that was also why they were asking for more money. She mentioned the community yard sale that CMPL is holding on May 28 and that they were looking for other ways to supplement their budget.

McKenzie told council that the library’s programming had changed astronomically since the start of the pandemic, because there was no programming being offered anywhere else.

“People are looking for places to go. Our March break event we hosted outside here on the grounds, we had 69 people come throughout the three hours we operated. That is huge compared to the usual 10 to 13 people who come by usually. So, our budget is being used up a bit quicker than it usually would be,” she says.

According to their annual report’s 2021 statistics, they had 189 new cardholders, 5,394 print titles held, 811 DVDs held, 95 English and 28 French periodicals held, a total circulation of 1,760, 598 e-book downloads, 420 audio book downloads, 122 interlibrary loans and five programs put into place with 116 participants in total. The latter included a Mother’s Day teacup fundraiser, a plant sale, a Spooky Scavenger Hunt, a Halloween costume swap and a book reading by children’s author Samantha L. Douglas.

McKenzie says they have more people involved in the library this way and it’s been gratifying just being able to get the word out that they’re around.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t know we even exist. We’re not really out in the open, as we’re kind of hidden within the school [Hermon Public School], so with programs and events we have people who may not use us for books or DVDs but for a community hub. They’ll come by to meet with friends, meet new people and they may join new clubs because they met somebody in one of our programs,” she says.

The CMPL’s target fiscal challenge, according to their annual report, is to have fundraisers helmed by the library board, staff and volunteers like a yard sale and barbecue to raise $250 per year to put toward collection development.

Peirce thanked the township for their support over the years and their understanding of CMPL as a community hub.

“We appreciate the consideration of the additional funding we’re looking for,” she says. e

Adams thanked them both and said that their annual report was both comprehensive and excellent. She also remarked that CMPL was one of the first, if not the first library in the area to offer curbside pickup, which McKenzie confirmed. She also mentioned the challenges they faced with COVID-19, especially with them being attached to Hermon Public School.

Councillor Dan Hughey and Councillor Eldon Stewart were both impressed with the annual report as well. Hughey said he was amazed that so much was going on in their little community that he hadn’t realized, and he had no issue with putting forth a motion to put the library’s request for increased funding forward to the budget discussions on April 25. He did so, and council passed this motion unanimously.

Adams thanked Peirce and McKenzie again for their presentation.

“And thank you for the excellent job you do for our community. It’s impressive,” she says. “And as Eldon said, every year it just gets better and better. So, thank you.”

McKenzie thought the presentation went well when speaking with The Bancroft Times on April 12, especially since Councillor Hughey made his motion to accept their request for an extra $2,400 for 2022 and place it in the township’s budget discussions.

“We have never asked for this large of an increase since I’ve been part of the library,” she says. “The annual report that we distributed prior to the meeting for council showed how hard our board members and staff have worked over the past year and how dedicated we are to make out little library the best one that we can offer.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times

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